Techniques for painting with acrylic

Updated on

Acrylic is basically glue and pigment. If it’s left exposed to air, it’ll dry hard. You can peel it off but not off clothes. Store brushes and tools in water. Add retardant to prevent drying. Leave in a pile rather than smeared to prevent drying.

Colors like yellow, orange, and yellow-green can be almost transparent. Remember, colors at the top of the wheel are “lighter” in value and tend to be more transparent. Magenta and blue can be kind of light too because they are student grade.

  • Paint in layers. Let it dry a bit, then paint over it again.
  • Paint in one direction (not back and forth, not in circles, this can cause streaking and “pull” the paint off the paper)
  • Add a little bit of white to the light yellow. It’s not enough to notice the tint, but enough to add pigment to the paint so it’s not transparent.
  • A wet brush with water will make the paint more transparent, so make sure to wipe off excess water from the brush.

When painting edges:

  • Use low tack tape. Artist tape can be too high tack. Pull off while wet. Only press down on edge that you will paint, not the other edge.
  • Use a flat brush and draw the edge. You can also tap the edge (stippling) or drag the edge. The round brush will make an organic line.

For outlines in graphite / pencil

  • Use very light graphite
  • Erase if it’s too dark, and make sure to brush off all the eraser dust
  • Clean your eraser by cutting off the dirty bits, or by rubbing it on sand paper, otherwise it can smear the graphite
  • Recommend Hi poly eraser (white) over the pink papermate because it’s softer and cleaner.

Acrylic paint darkens when it dries, just a little.

When loading up a brush:

  • Use a brush that has been hydrated, but wiped off. Moist but not soaked. Definitely not bone dry.
  • Load up half way up the bristles. Should be even across the bristles to avoid globing.
  • Load up both sides.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *